Real estate sources confirm that Uber has signed a 10-year lease for 72,905 square feet at 1717 Rhode Island Ave., NW. Much of the building next to St. Matthew’s Cathedral has been vacant since its primary tenant, law firm Heller Ehrman, went under back in 2008 leaving behind more than 80,000 square feet.
The news is interesting for two reasons. First, that building has proven particularly tough to lease. A mix of historic townhouses and new construction, brokers say potential tenants found the space odd and had difficulty envisioning ways to reconfigure it. “Everybody had walked through that space,” says one broker. “Your typical Washington tenant wants efficient floor plates and glass. I think a technology firm looks for funky. The typical Washington tenant does not.”
Maybe it’s a San Francisco thing. Like Heller Ehrman was, Uber is headquartered in the City by the Bay, where it’s also apparently looking to expand.
The other interesting part of the news is that Uber only moved into its current offices at Connecticut and Florida avenues, NW last year. The company has yet to respond to requests for comment, so it’s unclear at this point whether Uber will be leaving behind its current digs, or simply adding to them with the new space. We will update when we learn more.